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U.K. storm could cause up to $491 million in insured damage

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Storms that have ravaged parts of northern England and Scotland likely will result in insured losses up to £325 million ($491.1 million), according to an estimate from PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. in London.

Storm Desmond struck the United Kingdom on Saturday,, causing widespread flooding, notably in the Cumbria region of northern England and leaving at least three people dead.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said Tuesday that the storm likely would result in economic damages of about £400 million to £500 million ($604.4 million to $755.6 million), with insured losses of between £250 million and £325 million ($377.8 million to $491.1 million).

“Clearly these are initial estimates, as there is still uncertainty as to the number of properties and businesses affected,” said Mohammad Khan, general insurance leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers U.K.

Catastrophe modeler Risk Management Solutions Inc. said it was still too early to estimate insured losses from the flooding, but “the available information and meteo-hydrological observations suggest that losses could exceed those of the 2009 Cumbria flood events,” said Maurizio Savina, flood risk expert at RMS.

Floods in Cumbria in 2009 caused about £174 million in insured damage.

“Flooding brings misery to homeowners and businesses, which is why insurers are pulling out all the stops to help their customers recover as soon as possible,” said James Dalton, director of general insurance at the London-based Association of British Insurers.

“While it is too early to say what the cost of the flooding will be, insurers are geared up for events like this and have mobilized their contingency plans to help customers through this stressful time,” he added.